Rush Cosponsors the Deborah Sampson Act to Support Women Veterans
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) cosponsored the Deborah Sampson Act (H.R. 2452) to fully recognize and support women veterans. Illinois is home to over 646,000 veterans, of which 49,353 are women.
The Deborah Sampson Act aims to fill critical gaps in VA care for women vets, including funding peer-to-peer assistance and improve legal and support services, data tracking and reporting and newborn medical care in addition to changing the VA’s non-inclusive motto.
“Women contribute greatly to our nation’s armed forces which requires the right recognition for their service. I am pleased to support legislation that provides funding and much needed resources to care for our women veterans,” said Rush.
The Deborah Sampson Act does the following:
- Changes the dated and exclusionary VA motto that currently reads, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and for his orphan.”;
- Empowers women veterans by expanding peer-to-peer counseling, group counseling and call centers for women veterans;
- Improves the quality of care for infant children of women veterans by increasing the number of days of maternity care VA facilities can provide and authorizing medically-necessary transportation for newborns;
- Eliminates barriers to care by increasing the number of gender-specific providers and coordinators in VA facilities, training clinicians, and retrofitting VA facilities to enhance privacy and improve the environment of care for women veterans;
- Provides support services for women veterans seeking legal assistance and authorizes additional grants for organizations supporting low-income women veterans; and
- Improves the collection and analysis of data regarding women and minority veterans, and expands outreach by centralizing all information for women veterans in one easily accessible place on the VA website.
More than 345,000 women have deployed since 9/11. Women are the fastest-growing segment of the veteran population and that trend will continue as the number of male veterans simultaneously declines over the next decades. However, many female veterans are left without the proper care to support their needs when they return from their service. The Deborah Sampson Act is an important step in providing female veterans the care they deserve.